Self-love is a verb

tcblogprojectgreenPart of our TCBP topic for February is Self-Love, so I’m attempting to write about it.

It’s hard. I’m finding it as hard as loving myself, honestly, and I find that really freaking difficult.

I’ve spent most of my life feeling like an unlovable monster — unworthy, unfuckable, ugly, stupid, wrong, dangerous to those around me — too dangerous to show any kind of affection. I’ve spent most of my life trying to prove it, too; my self-sabotage timers go off whenever I’ve spent too long being happy with someone, and then I try to fuck it up.

It’s only constant vigilance and smashing of the snooze button into a million tiny pieces that’s kept me from destroying my relationship with the Ogre.

Part of me believes, deep down, that no one could ever truly love me — and if no one else could love me, then it’s a huge task to ask myself to love me, right?

So tackling this thing of self-love is difficult. I don’t know if I can say “I love myself” except when I’m being facetiously narcissistic. I try to say it, but it’s never been 100% true.

And it’s something my deities want me to work on — with Celtic deities there’s a definite “If you don’t think you’re worthy, why should I?” vibe, so wallowing in piles of self-hatred is not going to get you anywhere with the Morrigan, Brighid, or Manannan.

Aphrodite and Hecate both, when I dedicated a year of my life to Them, wanted me to work on loving myself and loving other people (and the two are connected). They specified Mirror Work for this. I wish I could say I’ve been doing it diligently; I haven’t.

Now that I’m beginning to see Aphrodite as syncretic with Naamah this makes even more sense; my feeling of Naamah is that of infinite compassion, and deities of infinite compassion usually want you to love yourself.

Dionysus wants me to fix myself; to break the self-sabotage clock. To break myself down and rebuild. This, too, is self-love.

But, again, the Work. Is. Difficult. And I can’t just change years of layered emotions. There’s a lot of digging to do.

So it comes back to practice. I can’t just up and tell myself I love myself; that doesn’t fucking work (I’ve tried it). I have to actively love myself. Love is a verb, anyway; this has to be part of it. I can say I love the Ogre all I want, but if I’m not loving him through my actions then I’m a liar.

I’m not necessarily talking about sex, solo or otherwise, though that is definitely within Aphrodite-Naamah’s purview. I’m talking about all the actions that are self-love: brushing my teeth and hair. Taking care of my body the way I want to — shaving my armpits and legs on a regular basis, taking care of my skin, taking painkillers when I need to, eating food I enjoy and that my body enjoys, not fucking overdoing it godsdammit Morag (kind of impossible right now with the move, but that happens; life happens).

The actions that I call self-care help me love myself.

(There’s overlap, with loving Ogre: cooking him good meals; keeping the house clean; refraining on the incense burning; helping him keep his life together. And these, and other ways, are how he loves me.)

I don’t mean to be easy on myself all the time — because love is also harsh, when needed. I do not let up on the vigilance against my self-sabotage clock. I stand ready, a hammer in my hand, waiting to smash the snooze button as soon as the alarm goes off. It is not a permanent solution, but until I can get into therapy it is all I have.

Too, with my body — I must go to physiotherapy, and sleep on a better bed, and exercise. Those things hurt but it is a good hurt, and I must do them. Or I will never get better.

I have to push myself. I have to push myself to get better, so that I can become the type of person I want to love. I have to push myself to become my truest self — I need to break down the years of accumulated junk that’s crusted my surface, hiding who I am behind a facade that is ugly and monstrous and dangerous.

Love is not coddling.

Yet, I need to go easy on myself if I fuck up, because another way I actively hate myself is to sharpen my claws and spend hours inside my own head, ripping myself to shreds until there is no dignity and little will to live left. I am well versed in how best to hurt myself, and I am the person on whom I let loose all my nastiest barbs and burns.

Loving myself is a constant tightrope act for me. I am always balancing just so, trying not to fall back into the abyss from whence I crawled, trying to stay true to the course.


PS: you may have noticed no weekly ritual write up this week. There was no weekly ritual. Had to skip it. Next week’s will likely be done Tuesday evening, as Wednesday morning I’m in surgery. Don’t know when the recap will be up. Also don’t know when I’m blogging here next. Moving is murdering me.

2 replies on “Self-love is a verb”

    1. You’re welcome. I’m glad it spoke to you.

      *catches lightbulb* You’ve just given me an idea, actually — to blog about my self-love progress as a devotional act at my Aphrodite blog-shrine. So, thank you!

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